For the first time in its seven-year history, the Design Leadership Network (DLN) has released summary results of its annual marketplace survey of members of the architecture and design community.
“The purpose of sharing this high level information is to encourage designers and architects to pursue the successful development of their businesses even as the market continues to change and face uncertainty,” said Peter Sallick, founder of the organization. “The results of our 2012 survey indicate that the market is improving and that members of the design community are adapting in a positive way.”
Key economic findings from the survey conducted during the month of April 2012 include:
• 50% of firms report growth in the number of projects in 2011 versus only 35% of firms in 2010
• 34% of firms report growth in budgets in 2011 versus 25% in 2010
• While the majority of firms did not change minimum budget thresholds, of those that did the majority reduced the minimum. However, overall firms reported higher overall fee structures in 2011 vs. 2010
• 70% of firms report expectations of growth for 2012 vs. 2011, with the Northeast and New York metro areas indicating the highest expected growth rates, followed by California
• Firms report 54% of projects as renovation related while 46% are new construction
A summary of important trends include:
• Pricing transparency and clear marketing of the value of design services are seen as the best ways to address the challenge of homeowner “DIY” projects
• Overall, the economy remains the biggest concern among designers and architects followed by budget pressures and margin erosion related to financial pressure from clients
• 70% of all purchases start with online research before showroom or shop visits
• 80% of firms use websites to find product specification information, while only 40% report consistently using binders and other printed materials
• 20% of all purchases are made online without ever seeing the product
• Trade showrooms remain an important shopping destination, though importance varies by product category with 70% of fabrics purchased in showrooms as a high, with only 20% of accessories purchased in showrooms as a low
The DLN and its annual Design Leadership Summit aim to strengthen the design community through education. The full survey, as well as past years' results and a range of content related to DLN, is available to members only on the organization's website.
Photos are from the organization's 2012 Design Leadership Summit in Marrakesh.